Arsenal are one step closer to meeting condition for Declan Rice transfer


West Ham United's Declan Rice during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Aston Villa at London Stadium on March 12, 2023 in London, United Kingdom. 

Arsenal’s win over Fulham was significant for many reasons in addition to keeping their five-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table intact.

First-half goals from Gabriel Magalhaes, Gabriel Martinelli and captain Martin Odegaard were enough to secure a 3-0 win for the Gunners at Craven Cottage and the fixture also marked the return to action for Gabriel Jesus following three months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

And aside from responding to Man City’s win over Crystal Palace, Arsenal took another step towards sealing a top-four finish. Now on 66 points, if last season is any indicator with regard to the total needed for Champions League qualification then as things stand, they are four points off target.

That works out to be one win and a draw in the ideal scenario or four draws alternatively. Although, it’s worth pointing out that the other realistic opportunity for the north London outfit to end their Champions League absence is by winning the Europa League as the reward is not only a trophy but entry to next season’s group phase too.

With that said, considering Arsenal are embroiled in a title race with Man City, it would require an almighty dip in form over the remaining 11 fixtures for Mikel Arteta’s side to not achieve this target.

Not since the 2016/17 campaign which ended in a humiliating defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich have the Gunners competed in the Champions League, but with each passing Premier League fixture it seems it’s only a matter of time before they are back at Europe’s top table.

And by potentially moving to within four points of sealing qualification, the Gunners have taken a giant step toward meeting Declan Rice’s condition for a transfer should he, as expected, leave West Ham United in the summer window.

“One hundred per cent I want to play in the Champions League,” he said, as per the Guardian in December 2022. “For the last two or three years I’ve been saying that. I’ve been playing consistently well for my club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing.I see my friends here who are playing Champions League and for big trophies.

“You only get one career and at the end you want to look back at what you’ve won and the biggest games you’ve played in.”

Arsenal are interested in signing Rice and understands that there is optimism a deal can be done despite the Gunners’ transfer policy of not being dragged into a bidding war, nor overpaying for players – which ultimately saw them miss out on the signing of Mykhailo Mudryk in January.

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